Looking directly down onto Edin's Hall Broch, showing the circular shape and small rooms enclosed within the thick stone walls.


It’s the Iron Age, over 2000 years ago. You are planning to build a new home so you are going to do some research. You are going to learn about brochs to help you decide if you might like to build one for yourself.

The Task

Your team will:

  • Learn about brochs by visiting the websites listed below
  • Complete a worksheet of questions about brochs
  • Make a list of the pros and cons of living in a broch
  • Decide whether you’d like to live in a broch
  • Present your results in a poster

The Process

  1. You will be assigned to a team of 3 students.
  2. Each team will be given a worksheet to complete.
  3. You will use the links provided below to find the information you need to complete your worksheet.
  4. You will create your poster.
View of Edins Hall broch, from the SE

Brochs are a type of tall Iron Age tower found only in Scotland. There are around 500 of them, mostly in the north and west of the country. They were the homes of farming families over 2000 years ago.

Write your answers to the following questions on your team’s worksheet.

  1. Follow this link to watch a video about brochs: Mousa Broch: Scotland from the Sky
  2. What is the name of the broch near Abbey St Bathans, in the Scottish Borders? You’ll find the answer here: Broch near Abbey St Bathans
  3. Explore this 3D model of the remains of the broch: 3D Model of Edin’s Hall
    a) How many entrances does it have to get into the broch from outside?
    b) How many doorways are there from the inside of the broch into rooms within the thickness of the broch wall?
  4. How tall are the surviving walls at Edin’s Hall? You’ll find the answer here: History of Edin’s Hall
  5. How tall is the tallest surviving broch in Scotland? You’ll find the answer here: Scotland’s Tallest Broch
  6. What sort of crafts and activities were carried out during everyday life in the Iron Age? You’ll find the answer here: BBC Bitesize: How did Iron Age people live? if you scroll down to this part of the page: Images of people carrying out various tasks
  7. Have a look at these reconstruction drawings to get an idea of what the inside of the broch might have looked like: https://scharpblog.wordpress.com/2015/06/16/a-broch-blog/ and http://www.isleofharris.com/discover-harris/past-and-present/broch-or-dun
  8. Based on the things you have seen and read, do you have any questions about living in a broch? Write them down, and if your teacher gives you permission, do some more research to see if you can find out the answers.
  9. Imagine what you think it would be like to build and live in a broch. Make a list of the pros and cons of living in a broch. Pros are good things, the advantages of living in a broch. Cons are disadvantages, things that might make living in a broch a bit unpleasant.

With your team, create a poster about life in a broch

  1. Draw a broch in the centre, including:
    – your idea of what you think the roof might have looked like
    – as many storeys (floors) as you think the broch might have had
    – internal details such as furniture, fire, lamps etc
    – people carrying out activities inside the broch
  2. Explain what a broch is by including a sentence that begins, “A broch is…..”
  3. Write all the pros down on side of the poster, and all the cons down the other.
  4. Include a final decision: does living in a broch get a yes or a no, a thumbs up or a thumbs down from your team?

More Resources

You might like to explore the 3D models here too, to get a better idea of what some of the tallest surviving brochs in Scotland look like now: 3D model of Mousa Broch, Shetland

3D model of Dun Carloway Broch, Isle of Lewis